By Nicholas Jason Lopez
2020 to the fullest, Madrid-based alternative/punk outfit To The Helpless’ latest EP ‘The Fringes Of Normality’ lyrically explores death, (social) distance, marriage and (new) normalcy within the realm of a pandemic.
The EP was mixed/recorded by Álvaro Escribano at La Chulona Estudio and mastered by Mass Giorgini, who worked to make sure the band’s hopes to channel multiple genres – 80’s hardcore punk, 90’s grunge/alt-rock and punk rock – into their sound paid off.
The Music Bugle had the chance to chat with rhythm guitarist/songwriter Lucas about ‘The Fringes Of Normality’ and more.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Lucas – As a band, we haven’t been very affected, because we’re more of a studio band than a rehearsing/live band. If anything, it’s been positive for us, because the guys didn’t have an excuse not to come in and record the EP. As individuals, I think the four songs in the EP summarize it well and luckily, only I have been infected by the virus.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your new EP?
Lucas – It normally works like this. I write the songs, I rehearse them a couple times with lead guitar/producer Escri and drummer Javi. Then, we go into the studio and record it with the rest of the guys, vocalists Mati and Dani and bassist Colme. In the case of this EP, I was simply just releasing accumulated energy and decided to write a few songs that put my feelings towards Covid in order.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Lucas – The band started out as a form of therapy. With the intention of releasing just one album in 2018 called ‘Catharsis.’ The name is meant to capture the intention of the songs, which are normally directed from a person who is feeling helpless to other people that might connect with that same feeling. Normally empathizing with their situation or with the aim to lift their spirits, so the name just illustrates who this band and our songs are for.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write or compose?
Lucas – Our songs are extremely simple, because we are a non-rehearsing band. We try not to overintellectualize anything we do. Rather than “hard,” I’d say writing these songs is a very liberating experience. It’s a lot of baggage that I rather not have to deal with by myself. (Laughs)
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your musical style?
Lucas – That it’s raw, energizing, fun and liberating. It’s the music we grew up listening to, so it’s second nature and at the same time, it’s funny to see how all of us have grown up, some of us have even grown out of the genre and are in the band for the friendship and the laughs. I don’t know, it’s a mixture of nostalgia and uninhibition.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a band to stand out these days?
Lucas – This band doesn’t stand out at all! (Laughs) We’ve tried pushing this EP a bit harder trying to get reviews and interviews like this one, but in general, no one gives a shit about us and that’s totally fine with us. We’re in it for the fun.
Music Bugle – How would you define the year 2020?
Lucas – Well, we have a new single coming up on December 15th that talks about that. I’d say 2020 has made our deficiencies as a species even more evident, so make sure to check the song out in December.
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Lucas – I wish people and their bands took themselves a bit less seriously at the same time the industry took underground bands a bit more seriously.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Lucas – #justhereforthefriendship
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Lucas – The last record I listened to was ‘Southern Accents’ by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers.